Physics student helps team win Aeronautics and Astronautics competition

Release Date: 
Jul 30 2016

Zach Wozniak, an undergraduate physics major in the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) School of Science helped his team win first place in the technical-design competition of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Region III Student Conference held this spring, at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The team's project, a plasma hot jet-ignition was funded by the IUPUI Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Institute (MURI).

The team of undergraduate students of diverse disciplines was composed of Zach Wozniak, a physics major; Jesse Burton, an electrical engineering major; with Daniel Robinson, Cameron Hedrick, and Qiuyu Deng from mechanical engineering. These college students, under the mentorship of Ali Tarraf Kojok, graduate student, Department of Mechanical Engineering; Mohammad Ebrahim Feyz, doctoral student, Department of Mechanical Engineering; and Associate Professor of Engineering Technology Afshin Izadian worked industriously throughout the 2015-2016 academic year at the Combustion and Propulsion Research Lab directed by Professor of Mechanical Engineering Razi Nalim to design a new ignition system. The one they successfully designed is part of an efficient combustor concept geared toward reducing fuel consumption. The plasma MURI team presented their research before a panel of judges from the aerospace industry, including The Boeing Company and Rolls-Royce Corporation, with favorable reviews. They also took part in the technical-design challenge to build the fastest flying blimp, competing against more than 10 teams from other participating universities. Their blimp broke the records, landing the team first prize.